World’s Strangest

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Towering Jigsaw Puzzle Made of Stone

Studio Gang Architects’ Marble Curtain consists of 620 interlocking stone slabs stretching 18 feet high and weighing in at over 1,500 pounds. The stone chosen is transluscent and the pieces are only 3/8 of an inch thick, so the sculpture glows from interior lights. Marble Curtain is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Building Museum to [...]

Morbid Road Trip: The Scattered Artifacts of Lincoln’s Assassination

Almost every item even remotely connected to Lincoln’s assassination, death, and funeral later found its way into some special collection. Many wound up in the hands of museums, historical societies, or the government, and are available for public viewing. Many more in private collections occasionally get loaned out for display. If I ever convince my [...]

The Birth of Kermit

Before The Muppet Show, before Sesame Street, there was Sam and Friends, a 1955 series of local TV sketches created by a college student named Jim Henson. Despite getting top billing, the star of “Sam and Friends” was not jug-eared Sam, whose round nose and bald head suggested Popeye. No, the show’s heart was an olive-drab, [...]

This Is A Steam-Propelled Tricycle

The photo was taken in 1888 in front of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Castle” on the Mall.  The driver is Lucius D. Copeland, who invented the device (30 mile range, 10 mph).  His passenger is Frances “Fannie” Benjamin Johnston, later to become one of Washington’s most famous photographers. The steam-powered tricycle was much more practical than its [...]

Neapolitan Cephalopods

If you like octopuses and squids, you’ll love this collection of marine lithographs from the collection “I Cefalopodi!” at the the Biodiversity Heritage Library on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution. See nine pieces of the collection at BibliOdyssey. Link

Gray Whales Survived Ice Ages By Changing Their Diet

Researchers at UC Berkeley and Smithsonian Institution paleontologists have collaborated on a study of gray whales and how they survived so many global climate changes. The result-gray whales varied their diets and adapted to a wider range of food sources in order to survive. This study shows that whales may adapt quite easily to whatever [...]

Soapman: Corpse Turned Completely Into Soap

Photo: Dave Hunt / Smithsonian Institution We don’t usually post such a gruesome image on Neatorama, but bear with me. The story behind the corpse shown above is quite very intriguing. When the corpse above was discovered in 1875 during the digging of a train depot foundation in Philadelphia, it has turned into soap (that’s why it’s [...]

20-Shot Revolver

This is a unique single-action revolver patented by Henry S. Josselyn in 1866. Information on this gun is scarce, but it would appear to fire twenty rounds without reloading simply by cycling a new round on the flexible chain after each discharge. At least one example of this firearm is retained by the Smithsonian Institution. Link [...]

The Origin of Rudolph

Most folks know Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer from the 1964 Rankin-Bass TV special, or from the 1949 version of the song sung by Gene Autry. But Rudolph was born as a coloring book. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first appeared in 1939 when Montgomery Ward department store asked one of its copywriters, 34-year-old Robert L. May, to [...]

Cartoonographs: The First Infographics

Science Service was a nonprofit news organization that decided to “jazz up” their information releases by adding humorous pictures in the 1920s. Some of these “cartoonographs” are preserved in the Smithsonian Institution. Many of the early cartoonographs were drawn by Elizabeth Sabin Goodwin; see more examples at The Bigger Picture. Link -via Nag on the [...]